Dave Elliott: There has been a boom in electric vehicle (EV) take-up. Some see this as wonderful development in removing dirty fossil-fuelled cars from the roads, others, however, are not so sure. Not all of the criticisms that have emerged may be fair as the carbon debt associated with EVs or battery manufacture may be high, but, it is argued, it will be paid off fast if EVs use green power. It is complicated doing the emission sums as it depends on what energy sources are used for charging as well as for EV and battery manufacture. But overall there are clear emission savings. That’s good news, although it’s not all good news: EVs wont reduce road congestion, the need for more roads and for more parking space. The spread of EVs may also open up opportunities to provide storage support for renewables via the so-called “vehicle-to-grid” (V2G) option. In this case, EV’s batteries could be used to balance the grid and its use of variable renewables. EVs will be charged from the mains supply at home or elsewhere, and at times their batteries could provide a source of power when there were shortages on the grid.
Physics World 20th Nov 2019 read more »